Back-Up Project in the Bathroom

So last week we showed you the colors that we were testing on the porch. Having good New England sensibilities there was no way we were going to spend our hard-earned money on a couple of quarts of paint and not have a back-up project up our sleeves. It's a darn good thing we had a plan in place, because after oogling at the sun porch walls for a few days we decided that Benjamin Moore's "ocean air" (2123-50) on the walls was just too dark in the evening. As S pointed out, it was just a bit too 1940's mint-green bathroom tile, which we're sooooo grateful the Hive doesn't have. Speaking of bathrooms, that brings us to our back-up project. Yep, the blue bathroom, which was tame in comparison to the rest of the traffic light colors in the Hive (not that we don't love bright colors) when we moved in, got a makeover.

While we don't have mint-green tiles to contend with, the bathroom project had its own special challenges. First, there was the issue of the peeling paint on the ceiling, which after a little scraping revealed that the Hive bathroom used to have a pink ceiling. How feminine.
It would have been fantastic if our challenges ended at a bit of peeling paint, but of course they didn't. It seems as if another DIY'er back in the day mistakenly thought that just because plumbers spend a lot of time in bathrooms, "plumber's putty" must be something that could be used for all bathroom-related purposes. While some plumbers may also be tile gurus, plumber's putty is not tile caulk. And so, as I slept 'til a normal hour, jet-lagged S scraped every last bit of plumber's putty from the tile/wall joint around the entire bathroom. It's days (or really early mornings) like these that we're glad we have the world's smallest bathroom, because the plumbers putty was filling some pretty big gaps in the plaster.
S was super proud of his work and woke me up to reveal the bathroom covered in putty clumps. It was then that I realized that this little bathroom back-up project was going to be more work that just slapping up a couple of quarts of paint. My reaction to his exclamation, "I saved it for you to take pictures" must not have been what he was looking for, because by the time I came back upstairs with a hot cup of coffee in one hand and joint compound in the other, the whole mess was cleaned up. Ten points for S.

While S got to work smoothing out the wall with the joint compound, I started to cut in along the ceiling with my favorite angled 2" brush. If you remember, I bought Benjamin Moore's "sea foam" (2123-60) in their special bathroom and spa formula for the ceiling. As a ceiling paint, it was awesome - so thick that I didn't get a single drip as I worked my way around the room. And the color, while very pale, is very soothing/beachy feeling. Exactly what we were going for.
After the joint compound dried and we sanded and cleaned for the gazillionth time, I cut in and rolled out the quart of "ocean air" Aura paint in a satin finish.
Ocean air really is a much darker green than sea foam; see how the ceiling here looks almost white against the ocean air wall? It's that one shade color transition that we love so much, and while the greenish ocean air works perfectly here (especially given the going-ons in our bedroom just next door that we have yet to show you), we knew at this point it would just be too much in the sun porch.

Usually after painting the walls and ceilings we would jump right into arranging a few pretty little decorative touches. But this simple little back-up project didn't end with the paint. There was the issue of that light fixture that S swore he would never remove or replace again after the first three fixtures we tried just didn't work for us. We had taken the fixture down to get a nice clean paint line behind it and putting it back up proved to be just as challenging as it was the first time. Something about those big pig-tail lamps getting in the way and the screw holes not lining up perfectly.
The most challenging issue, however, was the still-missing caulk line around the tile/wall edge. We had filled the gaps with joint compound, but that does nothing for the moisture splashing all around when we take showers standing up. That's right, we took showers sitting down for three days during this whole simple paint job. It brought back memories of childhood as S expected his little brother to come tearing around the corner at any moment to hop in the tub with him. Actually caulking the surround, however, is a memory we'd kind of like to forget, which is why I have no photos of the whole debacle. Suffice to say, next time we won't be cutting such a big hole in the caulk nozzle and we certainly won't be fooled into thinking that "odorless" mineral spirits are anything but the most toxic nausea-inducing bunch of false advertising we've ever seen.

But, at the end of the day we had a nice even line of paintable white caulk around the tile and a few steady-handed minutes with touch-up paint left us with a tile-to-wall transition that we're happy to report looks infinitely better than the globs of gray plumbers putty we removed.
The whole room looks like it's ready for summer; it's fresh and clean and most importantly, it's done. Well, it's done until we decide that the tiles all need to be re-grouted with some bright white grout, or that the door and window trim need a coat of glossy bright white paint.
And while we're not going to use "ocean air" on the sun porch walls, we do love how it goes so nicely with the bee hand towels F picked up for a few dollars at Home Goods a few weeks ago.
Did the smallest room in your house cause some big headaches for you too?

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  1. Anonymous6/26/2010

    You know you can:
    Mask either side of joint
    Add caulk
    Smooth with finger
    Remove tape

    Its usually good for straight lines and consistent fillets.


  2. Ahhhh, we'll keep that in mind next time!


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